What are the risks of a Tummy Tuck (abdominoplasty)?

Are There Possible Complications of Tummy Tuck (abdominoplasty)?

A tummy tuck – or abdominoplasty – is a common and routine procedure. However, unlike non-surgical CoolSculpting, or mildly-invasive liposuction, a tummy tuck is a full surgical procedure, and therefore it carries the same risks as any surgery. However, when performed by a Board Certified Plastic surgeon like Dr. Ali who has done hundreds of tummy tucks, any risks are greatly minimized.

In this article we discuss the risks of which you should be aware. But you should not be “worried” – as complications are extremely rare.

Anesthesia Risks with Tummy Tuck

The main risk with a tummy tuck is from the anesthesia, there are risks that primarily due to the anesthetic. While the risks of anesthetic are very rare, you should still know about them. But you do not need to worry too much about them, in the hands of a skilled board certified physician.

Most cases of anesthesia-related problems are linked to the respiratory (breathing) system.  Improperly administered anesthetic, or an allergic reaction, can cause difficulty breathing. In addition to causing the airways of the lungs to tighten up, allergic reactions to anesthetics, can cause a heart attack –or shut down.

Pre-existing heart conditions or liver or kidneys problems can also affect how your body will react to anesthetics, so be sure to tell your doctor about any pre-existing conditions. Smokers are also more likely to have lungs and bronchial tubes that are irritable and susceptible to spasm – which can increase the risk of complications from anesthesia.

Some antidepressants in the drug category monoamine oxidase inhibitors (also known as MAOI can intensify the effects of anesthesia. Always tell your doctor if you take an MAO inhibitor, or have taken one in the last few months, so they can make adjustments to your anesthetic.

Necrosis Risks with Tummy Tuck

Because a patients skin, fat, and other tissue are being loosened and rearranged, there is a very slim risk that something may inadvertently detached from the blood supply – which causes tissue death called necrosis. It is actually normal for small amounts of fat to become necrotic during a tummy tuck – in which case it becomes a clear orange-ish liquid that drains from the incision.

But if too much fat, or other tissue, becomes necrotic, infection can develop. Left untreated the necrosis can possibly become gangrene. Like all complications, this is extremely rare!  But taking precautions against it helps considerably, such as: not smoking, proper wound after-care, and alerting your doctor immediately to any excess or unusual pain, drainage or sign of infection.

Thromboembolus Risks with Tummy Tuck

Another extremely rare risk of abdominoplasty (tummy tuck) is a thromboembolus – or blood clot – that can cause a blockage in the circulatory system.

In the rare event of a blood clot, it will most likely happen within 72 hours after surgery. However, in even rarer cases, a thromboembolus can occur up to 3 weeks after surgery. The symptoms of pulmonary (lung) thromboembolus are typically shortness of breath and fatigue.

While thromboemboli are very, very rare after a tummy tuck, getting up and walking around as often as possible after your surgery will substantially reduce the risk of a blood clot!

Avoid Tummy Tuck Complications with a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon

The vast majority of tummy tuck patients will NOT experience any of these serious complications. For most patients the only “side effects” will be some fluid accumulation beneath the skin (seroma) that can be removed with drainage tubes that are left in place after surgery for a short while.

And, as with any surgery, there will be some swelling, bruising and manageable pain during the healing process.

But in the skilled and experienced hands of Board Certified plastic surgeon Dr. Ali, you should not be overly concerned about highly unlikely complications.

Birmingham’s Best Tummy Tuck Surgeon

Birmingham board certified plastic surgeon Dr. Ali has helped hundreds of women and men in Southwest Michigan obtain a firm flat abdomen with a Tummy Tuck, without complications. When you schedule a free consultation with Dr. Ali, he will answer all of your questions – and help you decide if a Tummy Tuck is the right procedure for your unique body, lifestyle and appearance goals.

Call Dr. Ali for a Free Tummy Tuck Consultation: 248-335-7200